We’ve known for a long time rarely to expect an honest apology from an agent of the state. They deflect. They blame circumstance. They use the passive voice, claiming, ”Mistakes were made,” rather than admitting, “I made mistakes.” And, of course, there’s the classic, “I’m sorry if you were offended,” putting the onus on the listener, not the speaker.
Well, it looks as if Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) is finally receiving some criticism for this kind of behavior.
When she was District Attorney of San Francisco, she openly, and with flourishes of pride, pushed to prosecute parents of children who missed long stretches of public school. Then, in 2010, the year she was elected as CA Attorney General, she pushed for the idea to be law all across the state.
The law, enacted in January 2011, made it a criminal misdemeanor for parents to allow kids in kindergarten through eighth grade to miss more than 10 percent of school days without a valid excuse.
And, Redden adds, we’re talking fines and jail time for the offense.
Under the new law, the parent or guardian of a young, truant child could face a fine of $2,500 or more — or one year in jail. Harris pushed hard for the law as she was running for attorney general, and it passed just as she won the election.
And for a while, Harris appeared delighted and full of pride when talking about her push to criminalize the parents of kids who didn’t do enough of their twelve-year sentence in the public school system.
‘We are putting parents on notice,’ Harris said at her 2011 inauguration. ‘If you fail in your responsibility to your kids, we are going to work to make sure you face the full force and consequences of the law.’
In a 2009 SF Gate Op-Ed, published when she was in the midst of her run for Attorney General, Harris argued that “Truancy Costs Us All”, and the piece was subtitled “OPEN FORUM: Depriving a Child of an Education Is a Crime.” She called her threats and attacks “groundbreaking,” and said:
(M)y office prosecutes parents in a specialized truancy court we created that combines close court monitoring with tailored family services. To date, I have prosecuted 20 parents (five more subsequently were prosecuted) of young children for truancy. The penalty for truancy charged as a misdemeanor is a fine of up to $2,500 or up to a year of jail.
As, Redden points out, one of the parents prosecuted under the state law was Cheree Peoples -- mother of 17-year-old Shayla. In 2013, Ms. Peoples was taken in handcuffs from her home because her daughter had missed 20 days of school.
Shayla has suffered from sickle cell anemia since she was seven years old. Her mom had made Orange County aware of her disease, a disease that inflicts constant pain and requires a great deal of medical attention in hospitals.
But the dictates of government overlords like Ms. Harris took precedence.
And now, as more attention falls upon the law that Harris championed on a state level? She says the arrests were an “unintended consequence” of the statute.
As Joe Setyon reports for Reason, during an interview for “Pod Save America,” Harris said of the state prosecutions:
I had no control over that…
She implied that sending parents to jail was “never the intention” of the law, yet not only was it in the bill when she pushed for it, she openly, proudly, bragged about the policy on the city level in San Francisco and on a state level.
In fact, as video featured in a HuffingtonPost piece by Jenavieve Hatch, Harris laughed about it, saying that, as District Attorney, she “had a huge stick.”
She used it, often. And now, she will not address the problem of using it to threaten parents and kids. Instead, she has continued to push the idea that it’s important to keep kids in the public school system, despite the fact that public schools are -- as economic studies have shown, and many parents realize, a net negative on society -- delivering poor schooling and ugly propaganda, rather than education that could be provided better in non-governmental ways.
Indeed, Ms. Harris laughed.
One wonders if Ms. Peoples laughed as she was hauled by police from her home and her ill daughter was left without her mom.
One wonders if Ms. Harris, and other leftist Americans, have become so enamored with the fallacious notion that government must be the agency by which kids are taught, that parenthood itself is subsumed beneath the dictates of the state.
A little reminder for Ms. Harris...
Karl Marx wanted compulsory government-run education. He wrote about it in his Communist Manifesto.
Perhaps he’d be laughing right now, as well, Kamala.